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Creating a dialogue about what it’s like to be a new teacher.

The Rookie Teacher



The End of the School Year 0

Posted on July 02, 2014 by Natasha

The end of the year is an odd time for me.  I think it’s because I can’t identify exactly how I feel…or that I have opposing feelings.  Half of me is excited about the summer (particularly this summer because I am headed to Europe for the first time) and the other half is sad to say goodbye to my kids and colleagues. I spend a lot of time working on community in my class and in the school at large – and for the next 2 months…routines go out the window and I am forced to experience change.

I also look forward to the summer as a time for rest and reflection.  It’s important for us to rest and rejuvenate after a school year.  We work hard and by June 30th we are pooped!  I usually schedule time with friends and family, camping and nature, and sleeping without an alarm clock.  I find that taking in those 5 things helps me get back on my feet.  Taking a good look at what worked and what didn’t and building up my energy for the next school year.

photo: NDunn

photo: NDunn

“The most distinctive of these very good teachers is that their practice is the result of careful reflection… They themselves learn lessons each time they teach, evaluating what they do and using these self-critical evaluations to adjust what they do next time.” (Why Colleges Succeed, Ofsted 2004, para.19)

Sample Reflection Questions (via Teacher Tip, Scholastic.com)

1. Was the instructional objective met? How do I know students learned what was intended?
2. Were the students productively engaged? How do I know?
3. Did I alter my instructional plan as I taught the lesson? Why?
4. What additional assistance, support, and/or resources would have further enhanced this lesson?
5. If I had the opportunity to teach the lesson again to the same group of students, would I do anything differently? What? Why?

 

I. Reflection Questions To Help You Get You Started:*  (via Syracuse University, ref link)

• Why do you teach the way you do?

• What should students expect of you as a teacher?

• What is a method of teaching you rely on frequently? Why don’t you use a different method?

• What do you want students to learn? How do you know your goals for students are being met?

• What should your students be able to know or do as a result of taking your class?

• How can your teaching facilitate student learning?

• How do you as a teacher create an engaging or enriching learning environment?

• What specific activities or exercises do you use to engage your students?

• What do you want your students to learn from these activities?

• How has your thinking about teaching changed over time? Why?

*These questions and exercises are meant to be tools to help you begin reflecting on your beliefs and ideas as a teacher. No single Teaching Statement can contain the answers to all or most of these inquiries and activities.

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What is Literacy? 1

Posted on July 09, 2012 by Andrew

I am taking the AQ Reading Part 1 over the summer and have decided to blog some of my ideas and the discussion questions being addressed in the course. Our first discussion question was:  Define literacy. Comment on how literacy has changed in the 21st Century and what we as teachers need to consider to be effective literacy instructors due to that change.

Here’s what I think…

I strongly believe that in the traditional sense, literacy can be defined within the realm of reading and writing. However, I believe in the 21st Century we must adopt a more generalized sense of the term, as the mode of literacy changes. I believe in a definition that encompasses the interpretation and creation of communication. We hear of Media Literacy, Critical Literacy, and Technological Literacy. It is the ability to absorb and internalize a message someone is creating (reading) and it is then interpreting that message and creating a response in a variety of forms (writing, oral communication, texting, slogans, etc). In that sense we see Literacy as the ability to infer and interpret images as well as text. In fact Literacy in the broadest sense could be defined as the intake of information, images, signals and then the production of more or new information to be passed on to others.

When we were sitting at my staff meeting yesterday and examining our strategic goal we spent a lot of time discussing a general goal we could apply to JKs to Grade 8s and the connection between image and text as all literacy comes from an image.

clicking away! by eirikso

Clicking away! by eirikso, flickrcc.net

One change in the mode of communication in the 21st Century is the accessibility to a variety of modes of writing.  The Internet and other technology has allowed millions of ideas to be published on a second by second basis with little to supervision or accountability. Even 30 years ago if I had an idea I wanted to write down and show other people I would have to go through the publishing process with countless edits, re-writes and the potential for rejection. In 2012, I can, in less than 10 minutes, share my ideas with the world regardless of validity, quality and restraint. I am by no means criticizing the ability for people to publish their creative, genuine ideas which are truly incredible when you think of all of the things we see on YouTube, Blogs, Facebook on a daily basis. I applaud the accessibility to publish information. However, the concern can exist that we as educators need to teach our students the ability to think critically when looking for information and asking themselves questions like who wrote this, what is their message, which voices are heard or not being heard. We have to teach on the basic level the ability to distinguish fact and opinion in order to ensure our students are able to successfully navigate the massive resources at their digital fingertips. We have to teach children to read for the deeper meaning, which is a daunting task at best.

What is your definition of Literacy?  Comment below, join the discussion on Facebook, or send us a tweet @RookieTeacherCA.

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Occasional Teacher Mini Series: Planning/Prep Coverage: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 7 7

Posted on February 20, 2012 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

Welcome to our Occasional Teacher Mini Series.  On this episode, two RookieTeachers discuss Life as Rotary (Planning/Prep Coverage) Teacher: When you only have 40 Minutes.  It’s no secret that as rookies, most of us will begin our careers as a supply teacher, 0.## contracts, planning, rotary, long term occasional teacher, etc. Chances are that you will begin your permanent (or LTO) in a part-time contract with prep coverage, even .18, is better than nothing!  Listen in to hear Andrew share his experiences as a French Teacher, including: his classroom management strategies, the routines he built, and how he manages assessment and evaluation for ~200 students.

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Life as a Rotary (Planning/Prep Coverage) Teacher: When you only have 40 Minutes

photo: creativeorganizing.typepad.com

photo: creativeorganizing.typepad.com

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Magazine Boxes (for yourself, for students who require accommodation, and to keep your students organized). As a bonus, you can have students decorate them (according to The Arts: Visual Arts curriculum). There are many DIY magazine box projects on Pinterest.com.
  • NatashaPermanent 4-corner sheets (put them in page protectors with butterfly clips for easy transportability)
The Rookie Resource Bank: any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.
  • AndrewIndex Cards on a Ring (assessment/evaluation strategies, observation notes, handy to pass off to someone else). Option: colour code them!
  • Natasha: CDs (or websites) that come with resource/text books – USE THEM!  Often contain lesson plans, printables, assessment/evaluation strategies
Quick Shout Outs
  1. New Teacher Chat <#ntchat> on Wednesdays at 8:00pm EST on twitter > twebevent.com/ntchat [using this website saves you from having to add the hashtag to each post]
  2. Thank you to all the guest bloggers who have submitted an article to the site – we really appreciate your support and willingness to share your stories and experiences
photo: Neon Mic by fensterbme

photo: Neon Mic by fensterbme

Rookie Teacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCAFacebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

Thanks for listening. Join us for our next episode when we discuss So, you’re the new one, eh?

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Occasional Teacher Mini Series: The Supply Teacher: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 6 0

Posted on February 05, 2012 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

Welcome to our Occasional Teacher Mini Series.  On this episode, two RookieTeachers discuss The Supply Teacher. It’s no secret that as rookies, most of us will begin our careers as a supply teacher, long term occasional teacher, 0.## contracts, planning, rotary, etc. That’s why Natasha and Andrew discuss supply teaching tips, routines, and networking, we look into the classroom teacher’s perspective, and finish off with a bag ‘o tricks for the occasional teacher.

Roscoe Considers Recording a Podcast

photo: zoomer, flickrcc.net

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Occasional Teacher Mini Series: The Supply Teacher

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Conferencing Notes (Supply): Create a sheet that works for you that shows the classroom teacher who you helped, gave advice to etc.
  • Natasha: Mix up seating arrangements with colour strips
The Rookie Resource Bank: any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.
  • Andrew: Centralized Digitized Media Services from your school board
  • Natasha: iTunes playlist
shout!

photo: suneko, flickrcc.net

Quick Shout Outs

  1. Any feedback you can give us for TheRookieTeacher.ca or The Lounge Podcast would be greatly appreciated > it’s as simple as commenting on the blog, sending us a tweet, posting to the FB page, or emailing us
  2. #ntchat on Wednesdays at 8:00pm EST on twitter > Natasha recommends using twebevent.com/ntchat
  3. Also check out our friends at CampHacker.org and the CampHacker podcast – camp directors are a lot like teachers

Rookie Teacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCAFacebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

Thanks for listening. Join us for our next episode when we discuss Life as Rotary (Planning) Teacher: When you only have 40 minutes…

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Life as a B.Ed Student in Manitoba 2

Posted on January 26, 2012 by Natasha

One of the great things about running an online community like TheRookieTeacher.ca is that we get to hear feedback from all over the province, country, and the world!  This week two pre-service teachers from Manitoba got in touch with us and wanted to share their story.  Here’s what they had to say about attending a Bachelor of Education program:

Life as a B.Ed. Student in Manitoba
Hi, we are Mary Bertram and Taryn Deroche and we are both Bachelor of Education students at the University of Manitoba. After speaking to students from other universities across Canada we noticed there are similarities and differences to be found in teacher training programs across the country. We thought we would share some thoughts and insights into the Bachelor of Education program we are currently enrolled in.

University of Manitoba on Map

Photo: Google Maps

Currently, the B.Ed. program at the University of Manitoba is under review, with a new program planning to be implemented in the next few years. Until then, the B.Ed. program is an After-Degree program that is organized into specific education streams: Early (grade k-4), Middle (grade 5-8), and Senior Years (grade 9-12). In addition to these three streams, they also offer Weekend College program (grade 5-8) and an Integrated Bachelor of Music / Bachelor of Education program. The number of teacher candidates accepted to the program annually is as follows: Early (70), Middle (70), Senior Years (140). The Weekend College program accepts 35 students every three years.

When you apply to the B.Ed. program, you must have a teachable major and minor that satisfies your stream selection. In addition, applicants must also satisfy breadth requirements in English and/or French literature, social studies (history or geography), and science/math. For your application, you must write a statement of interest in teaching, as well as participate in a written skills exercise (essay on an assigned topic in 45 minutes). Three referees or references are also necessary and they must fill out specific forms sent directly to admissions for review. However, points for admission are based solely on GPA (45 points) and the written skills exercise (20 points).Both of us are in the Early years’ stream, which allows us to become specialized to teach kindergarten to grade 4. However, once we are certified teachers we are allowed to teach any grade from K – 12. Our program takes two years to complete in Manitoba. With each year consisting of 9 weeks of classes starting in September followed by 6 weeks of practicum experience and then again with 9 weeks of classes starting in January followed by 6 weeks practicum experience. We spend the two years attending lectures with the same 35 students commonly called your cohort. Once you are in your practicum school you are usually with two or three other students from the University of Manitoba B.Ed. program. During our time in the B.Ed. program we have been required to take courses in: Educational Psychology, Aboriginal Education, Special Education/Diversity Education, Social Studies, Literacy, Math, Science, Technology, School and Society, Art and Drama, Physical Education, and Music. This broad base of academic subjects has allowed us to develop the generalist skills required for teaching in the elementary grades. Every effort is made to place students with experienced teachers as to provide the best possible guidance to teacher candidates. In addition to the cooperating teacher there is a faculty advisor who is there to support and guide students through their practicum experience. Both of us have been lucky enough to be partnered with amazing cooperating teachers and faculty advisors who have helped us grow into the best teachers we can be.  For us, we believe the best part of our B.Ed. program is the

Moleskineh by Amir Kuckovic, FlickrCC.net

photo: Moleskineh by Amir Kuckovic, FlickrCC.net

relationships that we have been able to establish personally and professionally within the faculty, our early years’ cohort, advisors, and with our partnered practicum schools. Although we only have four teaching blocks, with two in each practicum school, we believe that our consistent presence within each school gives us the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with administration, colleagues, collaborating teachers, and most of all our students. Within our program itself, there are faculty members at the University of Manitoba who we hold so much respect for because of the initiatives that they take as teacher educators. They inspire us, intimidate us, and help push us to achieve success, try new things, and develop our philosophy as teacher candidates.

As young professionals we are able to become members of various special area groups for teachers in Manitoba. Once a year all the teachers in the province get the day off to attend professional development workshops held by these various organizations. We are both members of the Manitoba Association Multi-Age Educators (MAME, multiagemanitoba.org) and have greatly enjoyed going to various workshops they have held this past year. We look forward to exploring the other special area groups in the coming years as we progress in our teaching careers.

One of the things we have both found beneficial to our professional development in the field of education is learning about the online education community. Perhaps one of the most promising aspects of the use of social media for professional development is the ability to work collaboratively with educators from around the world. Without social media these partnerships would almost certainly be impossible or very difficult to establish. We have both joined Twitter in an effort to connect and learn from educators from around the world.

Although neither of us were expecting much, we have both found Twitter to be a great way to gather resources, get new ideas and meet other teachers! We have also found that reading other educators blogs is a wonderful way to start thinking critically about our own practice as educators. In addition to this Mary has found that blogging about her educational experiences has given her insight into her growth as a professional. We encourage all education students to start exploring the online education community and join in on all the amazing conversations that are happening each and every day!  With our initiative to be more than just B.Ed. students, we have been able to connect with each other, fellow teachers across the nation, and to the global education community as a whole. As we both prepare to look for jobs as teachers we have started to look back at our program and are thankful for the wonderful experiences we have had and the opportunities we have been given.

See us on #ntchat every Wednesday at 7:00pm CST!  If you want to learn more about the Bachelor of Education program at the University of Manitoba then check out:  umanitoba.ca/education.

If you want to learn more about us or connect with us you can find us at:

Mary Bertram
Taryn Deroche
Mary Bertram
@MLBertram  || mbertram2@gmail.com || prairieinspiration.wordpress.com
Early Years’ Stream, Cohort A21, Graduating 2012
Teachable Major: Biology
Teachable Minor: Psychology
Taryn Deroche
@TADeroche || taryn.deroche@gmail.com

Early Years’ Stream,Cohort A21, Graduating 2012
Teachable Major: History
Teachable Minor: ClassicalStudies

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BEd Alternatives: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 5 5

Posted on January 16, 2012 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

On this episode, four RookieTeachers discuss Bachelor of Education Alternatives: How are you using your BEd outside the classroom? With special guests Rebecca Jess and Rob Kempson, Natasha and Andrew investigate how Bachelor of Education graduates spend their time working outside of the classroom.  Listen in to learn how Rob manages his time between Occasional Teaching and working in the drama communities in Toronto and how Rebecca’s interest in the arts and summer camping has led her to a full time job as a Summer Camp Director.

Rob Kempson and Rebecca Jess

Guest: Rob Kempson and Rebecca Jess

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Bachelor of Education Alternatives: How are you using your BEd outside the classroom?

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: Procedural Writing using Origami
  • Rob: Super Sonic Simon Says
  • Rebecca: Grabbing Attention with Jingles (i.e., Sleep Country; Justin Bieber’s song Baby)
  • Natasha: WallWisher.com
The Rookie Resource Bank: any electronic, print, or event resource that we found helpful in our first few years of teaching.  Of course, these are all applicable to all teachers.
Quick Shout Outs
  1. Happy New Year! 2012 is going to be a great year for TheRookieTeacher.ca.  Stay tuned, we have LOTS of amazing things planned.
  2. We reached our goal of 100 Likes (and counting) on Facebook.  Thank you for helping us spread the word about our page.  Please continue to share and post questions.
  3. Don’t forget about the great discussions happening on Twitter.  Edutopia with Lisa Dabbs host the #ntchat every Wednesday night from 8-9pm EST on twitter.

Rookie Teacher Online
We are always looking for ideas, feedback, tips and tricks of the trade.  Find us on Twitter @RookieTeacherCA, Facebook.com /TheRookieTeacher.  If you are looking to get involved with our team, please contact us!

Thanks again so much to our guests:

Thanks for listening. Join us for our next episode when we discuss Life as a Prep/Rotary/”drop in” Teacher: When you only have 40-60 minutes.

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The AQ Race 9

Posted on December 11, 2011 by Natasha

A - alone on the wall  by Eva the Weaver, FlickrCC.nettypewriter key letter Q  by Leo Reynolds

Whether you are a teacher candidate, new to the profession or even a veteran teacher, you probably know, what I call, the “AQ race”. I remember when the push to take AQ (additional qualification) courses began early in my practicum experience.  If you spoke to a new teacher they would tell you that getting your Special Education Part 1 was the key to getting a job, while others began to push the ESL course as a way to market yourself, and still others would promote Reading Part 1.  It wasn’t until talking to a mentor of mine that I was able to step back from “the race” and consider what AQ courses meant to me.

Now, without a boring description of self discovery, I’d love to share my perspective with you in short.  AQ courses are a wonderful way that teachers can become life long learners!  These course offer us an introduction to some of the latest classroom strategies, and better yet a support community.  To rush through a course with the sole intent of using it as a marketing tactic on a resume or point of conversation in an interview simply diminishes the golden value that AQs have to offer.

I look forward to one day enrolling in an AQ course like Reading Part 1 or Technology in the Classroom, when I can take my new learning from one session and apply it the next day to my classroom.  With a community around me that shares in my learning, I’ll seek support, advice and of course share my stories of success and failure.

Coin Question Mark by Sandro PereiraSo, this leads me to asking… What do AQ courses mean to you?  What value do they offer?  Or maybe, you have questions about AQ courses (as I had in teacher’s college, and still have today) and wish to ask them now!

I look forward to hearing from you!

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How do you collaborate? Facebook Poll 1

Posted on December 08, 2011 by Natasha
Voting on Flickr by redjar

Voting: Flickr by redjar

We want to know how you are collaborating with other teachers and educators (Rookie or otherwise).

Swing by our Facebook Group and vote in our poll:

 I collaborate with other teachers…

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Resumes and Interviews: The Lounge Podcast: Episode 3 0

Posted on December 04, 2011 by Natasha

The Lounge is a biweekly podcast brought to you by TheRookieTeacher[dot]ca.

On this episode, two RookieTeachers discuss resumés and interviews.  Being a Rookie means starting from square one.  It’s never a bad time to update your professional resume (in fact, it may not be a bad idea to constantly be keeping a record of your experience, accomplishments, and certifications).

resumés and interviews

photo: N.Dunn

SHOW NOTES

Each episode features three segments:

  1. Topic Discussion
  2. Quick Tip for Tomorrow
  3. The Rookie Resource Bank

Topic: Resumés and Interviews (& a bit about portfolios too)

Quick Tip for Tomorrow: Something you could do the next day in class with little or no prep and is applicable to most grade levels.

  • Andrew: A Story Line (Art Lesson)
  • Natasha: “To Be Successful Today…” (routine, success criteria)
The Rookie Resource Bank:
Quick Shout Outs
  1. www.HiredTeacher.ca: sharing ideas and information in order to help new teachers find jobs – follow on twitter @HiredTeacher
  2. We have had request for running a #RookieTeacher chat on Twitter.  At this time we are going to hold off – but please check #NTChat (twebevent)/ NewTeacherChatWiki (hosted by Lisa Dabbs @teachingwthsoul) every Wednesday from 8:00-9:00p ET.
  3. We want to welcome all our new contributors to the table.  Watch out for blog posts and words of wisdom from: Marsha Pritchard, Sarah Lowes, Lauren Hughes, and Michelle Horst.  If you are interested in teaching overseas – keep an eye out for our special UK blogger, Jenn Graham.
  4. Like us on Facebook.com/TheRookieTeacher to receive web updates and join the discussion about teaching, education, and being a Rookie. We would love to see 100 Likes by the end of November

Thanks for listening. Join us for our next episode when we discuss PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

We want to hear from you, please comment on the blog, follow us on twitter @RookieTeacherCA, join us on Facebook, or send us an email to info@TheRookieTeacher.ca.

Find Natasha (@yoMsDunn) and Andrew (@ABlakeTeach) on Twitter.

Listen Live

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A Rookie Introduction: Our Newest Contributor…Michelle Horst 0

Posted on December 03, 2011 by Michelle

Hello — I am Michelle Horst, a new occasional teacher in Halton District School Board. I have always thought of teaching as a journey and am looking forward to joining together with fellow “rookie teachers” to celebrate and support others in the art of teaching. It is my utmost desire to inspire my students to learn and take action, while helping them to find independence and joy in their world and beyond! I strongly believe that “education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one” [Malcolm Forbes], and I hope you will join us as we strive together to improve as teachers! You can find me on Twitter @Michelle_Horst and on Facebook sharing teaching resources at Our Classroom! If you would like to learn more about me, please feel free to check out my blog www.ourclassroom.ca!

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